Music to Your Ears
In response to my statement of two weeks ago in which I wrote that Unit 7 Drain were among two bands that "whined like babies" about their time slot and/or venue placement, several members of the band cited conflicts with their employment schedules as the reason for requiring a time slot later than 9 p.m. Sounds reasonable enough. Apologies therefore to Unit 7 Drain, their fans and anyone who thought I was too big an asshole to acknowledge my own mistakes and apologize for them. Rage Against the Machine, however, offered no such explanation, threatening instead to write a letter to the editor (a.k.a. Yours Truly) challenging me to a public brawl. The arrival of said letter—and brawl—is still anxiously awaited. ... This past Saturday night I managed to drag my crusty ol' ass out to the Launchpad for the Icky and the Yuks tour kick-off. I felt young again ... until about 12:30 a.m., but I did manage to make it all the way through part of Icky's set. Other highlights of the evening were masterful, thunderous sets by Fivehundred and Black Maria, not to mention the always slightly disturbing Beefcake in Chains. Head 'Cake Steve Eiland won the award for best Icky-themed T-shirt, which I can't comfortably describe even in this rag. Anyway, Icky are on the road for the next 12 days or so, returning just in time for Jay Collins and Richard Trott to catch the plane that will deliver them to a fishing boat off the coast of Alaska for about six weeks. No, really.
Along with Paul Butterfiled, Mississipi-born, Memphis-rasied harpist Charlie Musselwhite can be credited for giving the so-called white blues movement of the '60s a leg to stand on. Already a master of the blues harp by his late teens, the then twentysomething Musselwhite had moved to Chicago and begun to absorb the intricacies of its urban blues sound. It's a style that Musselwhite has remained faithful to for the better part of 40 years. Still, the 60-year-old musician is regarded as one of the most adventurous bluesmen around, within his chosen idiom. And he's got 14 W.C. Handy awards and half a dozen Grammy nominations to prove it.
Thursday, May 13; Puccini's Golden West Saloon (21 and over, 9 p.m.): Guess what! It hasn't all been done before. It's safe to say that Australian-born, Los Angeles-based trio, Brother, are the first to eschew guitars in favor of dueling bagpipes in a rock format that draws on everything from Beach Boys-esque harmonies and sunny, SoCal pop to Latin rhythms and ancient, Aboriginal drones. And that's not to mention the Celtic undertones that drive most of the songs on their new album, Urban Cave.
with Sekiden, Leiahdorus and Brixton Ex
Thursday, May 13; Launchpad (21 and over, 9 p.m.): An undeclared, unspoken '80s-style electropop revival is taking place thanks to the Lovemakers—yet another fashionable band born and bred in the Big Apple. The band, which in the past was much more polished, has taken an evolutionary step backwards in its songwriting.
Various Artists Spin the Bottle: An All-star Tribute to KISS (Koch)
Frankly, this is one of the worst albums I've ever heard—a sonic travesty even by my forgiving '80s metal standards. Every washed-up member of every washed-up band you can think of appear in various configurations, churning out pedestrian versions of the same old KISS songs that have been remade dozens of times. So why bother? Because for KISS fans, the accompanying DVD is almost worth the price. Think of it as an if episode of "Behind the Music" without the script or narration—just a bunch of aging rockers further contextualizing KISS with sincere commentary. CD = drink coaster.